Cher Public

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is the alter-ego of Ivy Lin, who in her day job teaches biology at an alternative transfer high school. Ivy’s love of opera began when her father decreed that Mozart, Beethoven and other symphonic and instrumental works were superior to opera. Naturally, Ivy rebelled and began to secretly listen to Met broadcasts on Saturday afternoons on WQXR. In her spare time Ivy runs her own performance arts blog, brags about her cat, and obsesses over Game of Thrones. If Ivy were to sing opera she’d be typecast as Despina until she was in a wheelchair.



Paris original

Another month, another La Traviata release on video. This performance was culled from the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival and is in many ways the performance of La Traviata that you would get if you took all the major Traviata productions from around the globe and averaged them. The performance doesn’t feature spectacular performances but since none of them are outright bad they round off to “extremely professional and competent.”

Director Tom Cairns’ production and Hildegard Bechtler’s designs follow recent Traviata trends without adding any original touches: vaguely modern-dress, “timeless” non-descript sets, and rather cold person-regie between the opera’s three protagonists. The curtain rises on a modern salon that nonetheless has a chandelier and some other trappings of elegance that would be more true to the demi-mondaine life than the modern high-class escort.   Read more »

All futures great and small

The Metropolitan Opera yesterday afternoon was an uncommonly cozy place, as the auditorium was packed to the rafters with friends and family members of the nine National Council Audition Finalists. For the finalists I’m sure the experience was nerve-wracking but it was heartwarming to see the huge cheering crowds for each finalist.   Read more »

The devil is in the details

Certain operas are better in theory than practice. Boito’s Mefistofele has some undoubtedly fine tunes, and is perhaps neck-and-neck with Boris Godunov as a top bass star vehicle. But as an opera, it only works in fits and starts. For one, the fidelity to Goethe’s Faust gives the libretto a rather episodic, detached feel.

Gounod’s Faust might be a lot cheesier but it’s also more tightly focused and thus better theater. Boito’s opera has some some stunning choral work in the Prologue and Epilogue, a famous tune in Margherita’s lament “La altra notte” and an extremely enjoyable “Walpurgis Nacht” act but also a lot of filler. It’s not a long opera but it feels endless.   Read more »

Star, crossed

The key to enjoying Bellini’s I Capuleti e Montechi is to do a hard factory reset and reformat your brain to forget all other works based on Romeo and Juliet.

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Table bodied

Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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Door to door

The Met’s planned premiere of Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle was cancelled due to the Great Blizzard That Wasn’t.

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A wasted time

Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of the Met’s revival of Les Contes d’Hoffman is the opera version of the charming homeless drunk.

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The year in Ivy

2014 was a year of lemons into lemonade.

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